We sometimes fall into the trap of thinking that older people and technology are incompatible – that elderly people struggled to learn even the basics of today’s most sophisticated devices. But the truth is, most older people are perfectly capable of learning these technologies, and beyond that, they can benefit greatly from them.
What makes technology so capable of improving the lives of seniors? And what steps can you take to make the greatest impact?
Giving the Gift of Technology
If you’re looking for a gift idea for the senior in your life, DailyCaring recommends a wide variety of high-tech gadgets. For example, the ViewClix smart photo frame functions as a digital picture frame to highlight loved ones and happy memories, while the Amazon Echo Show provides voice assistant functionality – complete with options for video calling.
Many seniors don’t have the knowledge or motivation to find and purchase new technologies on their own. This means you have a major opportunity to change their life for the better by giving them something they’ll use every day.
These are some important tips that can help you do it:
- Choose the right gift for the right person. Not all technology gifts are suitable for all seniors. It’s important to think carefully about the person you’re providing with the gift and the options that could genuinely improve their life.
- Teach patiently. Some elderly people struggle to learn new technologies, and for a variety of reasons. When you give a gift, take the time to teach your recipient how to use that gift. Try to remain patient, as this may take several sessions.
- Provide setup and support. If possible, set up the technological device in advance on behalf of your gift recipient. It’s also kind to offer continuing support in case they run into any issues when using the device.
- Encourage them to use this technology regularly. Provide incentives and motivation so the senior in your life can use this technology to its fullest extent. That could mean making regular video calls, uploading new photos, or even playing a game with them.
How Technology Can Improve the Lives of Seniors
How exactly does technology improve the lives of seniors?
- Opportunities for socialization and connection. As we get older, we become less mobile, which reduces our capacity for socialization and human connection. But technology can provide new types of opportunities for socialization. Digital photo frames and similar devices can remind seniors of the special people in their lives, while smart speakers, smartphones, and other devices can enable communication directly.
- Abundant sources of information. Smartphones, smart speakers, and other internet-connected devices can provide seniors with access to practically unlimited information. In the span of a few seconds, they can get answers to any question they might have – and they can read the news, in depth, every day.
- Intellectual stimulation. Regular mental exercise in the form of intellectual stimulation can mitigate the onset of dementia. It’s also an easy way to improve the quality of life for any senior. Technology provides boundless opportunities for intellectual stimulation. In a single day, a senior can use technology to do crossword puzzles, play games, debate with other people, read books, and even listen to interviews with some of society’s smartest people. There’s no shortage of intellectual stimulation – as long as you have the technology and know where to look for it.
- Discovery of new hobbies and interests. This can also be an opportunity for seniors to discover new hobbies and interests. Through social media, basic online searches, and consumption of tutorials and training videos, older adults can get involved with new groups and clubs more easily than ever.
- Convenient controls. For some older adults, getting around the house and tackling basic daily responsibilities is challenging – but technology has the potential to make that easier. For example, a senior might be able to change the temperature on the thermostat with a mobile device without ever having to get up.
- Health and fitness tracking. That said, physical activity is also important. Some tech devices improve the lives of seniors by providing them with health and fitness tracking. They can keep tabs on their daily exercise, monitor their sleeping patterns, and even get alerts on potential health concerns.
- Emergency communications. Finally, remember that most forms of technology that provide opportunities for communication can also be useful in an emergency. If an older adult falls or has an accident, they can call for help easily with the right device in earshot.
As you can see, technological gifts can dramatically improve the lives of seniors, and in multiple ways. If you have an aging relative or another special senior in your life, consider introducing them to new technological devices that can keep them healthy and make them happier.